One a Day: Day 5: Going Away
“But I don’t want to go.”
“I’m sorry Nanna, but you don’t have a choice. I’ve been telling you for the past few months.” Nanna drifts towards the special dishes in the display cabinet, the ones she won’t be taking with her. The ones that every Sunday for god only knows how many years have been filled with the most amazing roast dinners, with gravy to kill for and Yorkshires that could put any Michelin Starred pompous prick down a notch or two.
“Funny, isn’t it? Just ten years ago, right here in this living room, I was telling you off for joking around with a banana, pretending to your brother that it was a penis.” I chew my lips so I don’t start flooding the room with hysterics. “I suppose I’ve been putting back the move in some shape or form. I had some wild idea I could be as sturdy as that Terry Pratchet. The man has Altzimers and he’s still trotting along. I suppose I kept holding onto hope that one of you would forget and I’d be making Sunday dinners and buying your favourites cheesecakes from Morisons until the day I drop.”
“It’s a nice place Nanna.”
“I still have a layer of fat around this old brain, lad. I know it’s a tick the boxes sort of establishment.” The world is filled with moaners, but Nanna isn’t one of them. She still knows what’s what. “The coffee will be served at room temperature and I’ll be sat there, looking at the ceiling, wondering what’s beyond. That’s how it’ll be lad. That’s how it’ll be.” The sun is starting to peel off the walls.
“Do you need help getting your things together?”
“No, I’ll be okay.”
“We made a list a while back about what goes to charity and what goes to the family didn’t we?” Nanna’s eyes keep moving over the objects that have been with her since, well, forever.
“Yes lad. We did.”
“Do you have the other set of keys?”
“I don’t remember where I put them lad. They’re probably lost.”
“Nevermind. We’ll get another set cut.” I kiss her powdery cheek. “See you tomorrow. I love you.” As a family we always say ‘love you.’ You never know what might happen.
“Didn’t your Nan have some dresses from back in the 70’s? We have that gig tonight and I need to look genuine.” Finola has her head in the wardrobe and it’s a wonder I can manage to hear her through all of Nanna’s woolies. “And some Levi flares? I’m sure she did. She told me about them when we first got together. I was always hoping she was going to give them to me as a ‘welcome to the family’ present.” I’m sort of listening and wondering where the hell the money is that she kept under her bed. Nanna never trusted banks and always had a stash of cash as well as an account (She made a pretty penny as a Psychologist back in the day.) Finola emerges from the wardrobe, with a burst of lavender. “Did you get the letter at the bottom of the stairs?”
“No.” Finola flaps her arms at me.
“Well go see. I didn’t want to open it, it was addressed to you. It didn’t have a stamp on it.” I take Nanna’s stair lift down because I’m feeling knackered after sorting through rooms of accumulated stuff.
The home smelt of roasted garlic when I arrived there and the windows were ones you can get right open. Not what I expected at all. We had squid. For me, it was the first time. I’d like to buy it and cook it myself. You know me more than any of my other Grandchildren, Martin, you know I’m strong mentally, emotionally and physically, a bit of a free spirit and something of a rebel. You knew that I didn’t need that stair lift and didn’t say anything when your brother came and fixed it to the wall as a good deed. You also didn’t say anything when he couldn’t make it for Christmas or New Year or my birthday. Now, I want more views in my life, so I came home and took my favourite clothes and the money from under the bed. There is a darkness that comes over people too stupid to give life their most. I’m not in that darkness.
Tell the people at the home what you will. They’re very nice people, so I’m sure they won’t mind. I’ll write when I get settled somewhere for a few days. For the sake of my own sanity and the sake of the sanity of my family (no matter how nice a nursing home is, it’s still a bloody horrible place to visit) I’m taking this old body away for a while.
“Simon, babe, your phone is going off. Do you want me to answer it?”